The event that lights up the still short history of the Singapore Grand Prix, at least as far as Scuderia Ferrari is concerned, was Fernando Alonso’s win in 2010. That year, hot off a win in Monza, Fernando had to dig deep, using all his talent to fend off Vettel, first in qualifying and then all race long, with the Red Bull a constant presence in the Spaniard’s mirrors, even during the only pit stop. The man from Oviedo thus got the Grand Slam, taking the win, pole position and also the fastest race lap, leading from the start to the chequered flag.
Historically, the Singapore track has suited the Ferrari man. From five starts, Alonso has made it to the podium four times: apart from the 2010 win, he was also victorious in 2008 and came third in 2009 and 2012, with a fourth place in 2011 as his worst result. Felipe Massa’s Singapore tally is much sparser. His best result in Formula 1’s first ever night race is an eighth place, which he managed twice, in 2010 and 2012, while he was ninth in 2011. In the first edition of the race he finished outside the points. And yet, Felipe’s first encounter with this track got off to the best possible start. In 2008, the Brazilian took a fantastic pole position, with a lap six tenths quicker than second placed Hamilton and eight better than his team-mate, Raikkonen. He got away very well and had a clear lead, but then Felipe was embroiled in one of Formula 1’s darkest hour of recent times and the darkness was not due to a failure of the artificial lights. A Safety Car period provoked by a euphemistically naughty spin from Nelsinho Piquet, led to the Ferrari drivers having to go for a double pit stop: during the refuelling on Felipe’s car, human error meant that Felipe pulled away before the work was done and he drove away before the fuel line had been removed. The disaster, under the glare of the world’s TV cameras, ruined the Brazilian’s race, when he looked to be heading for a win, with all that would have entailed in terms of the points standings. Since then, the curse of Singapore has followed Felipe over the past years: in 2010 a gearbox failure in qualifying meant he had to start from the back of the grid, in 2011, a puncture following a collision with Hamilton after 12 laps, dropped him to the back of the pack and another puncture, this time in the exciting moments after the start also ruined last year’s race for the Brazilian, although a strong fight up the order saw him end up back in the points.
If one considers that Raikkonen and Fisichella, the other two drivers who have driven a Ferrari at this event have never managed to pick up even a single point, one can understand how much the outcome of this race for Ferrari, at least in statistical terms, is linked to Fernando Alonso. Anyway, it’s the role of great leaders to light the way and Fernando is certainly one of those, as he has shown so often in these four seasons in red.